Saturday, August 25, 2018

Spin spin spin

In New York, I went through lots and lots of old sketchbooks and journals to see what I could recycle (and destroy!). My sketchbooks made of hanji were easy to take apart and slice up to make more thread.
I tried to make netting and thought I had it figured out but upon spending some time earlier today taking mine apart, I obviously didn't exactly get it. But at least I have the tools now!
Can you guess which one was a 10-year-old sample I found in an old book versus the ones I made in the last few days?
And Velma's generous way of trying to change my life: a table loom! I shot from the back because otherwise you'd see my shoes at the front door. Bill helped me get it going but I still need to figure out a few more things before I get started. And spin a lot more thread! And get books to help me. Next week, the fall semester starts: I'll be teaching an artists' books class on Fridays. I even signed up for a jewelry class as I am long overdue for learning more about a new medium. Plus at least three trips out of town, all requiring airplanes. It may be 90 degrees next week but summer is in its long farewell.

Monday, August 13, 2018

Speak for themselves

I'm amazed that I was on two massive trips, both for work, this summer, and still managed to produce a smidgen of work. Last week I got to see Stefan for an in-person shoot, which is always the best way to go (though NYC summer was fairly unbearable, weather-wise, this time around).
This dress was YEARS in the making. I had started folding these price tags around 2001, maybe earlier. I sewed them to paper thread at Haystack in 2008. One of those things that has followed me around to many different homes and studios until now.
Finally! I had been wanting to make this edition for well over a year. There are three things going on, an homage to instructional dressmaking manuals, another homage to commonplace books, and then the usual narrative that I write woven in between.
I have a particular way of taking notes of everything I read, and have been doing that since grad school about 15 years ago. They come in handy for all kinds of things, like having good quotes on hand (with the bibliographic citation in full) when you have to write a book, for inspiration, and for when you are finally making the artists' book you've wanted to make but wasn't ready until now.
Of course this is a favorite spread. This is partly why the edition is limited to ten copies.
And the tip-ins are all different, so of course it had to be a variable edition (the hanji pages also vary as I had to cull from different batches. Learned a lot about which hanji wants to go into the printer and which DOES NOT). Doing the former makes printing easy and pleasurable and nearly instantaneous. The latter makes life awful.
This is the first time, maybe ever, that I've felt 100% great about a book that I've made. It's because I have the right tools (experience, technical skills, confidence) in the right combination.
All of those failed prints turned into new dresses.

Artists' books,
Hanji dresses,
Hanji ducks.

Meanwhile, finally back home for a bit and back to nesting. I was a little cranky at first, but did a bunch of housecleaning and laundry today, enjoying the NOT humid summer here, and glad to have the big driving of the year done.